Fantasy Challenge Manual

Fantasy Challenge (FC) is a multiplayer internet strategy game, set in an abstract fantasy environment. The graphics and the interface are simple, but mastering the strategies of the game is not. This is not a game for everyone, but some people find it entertaining, deep, challenging and addictive.

In FC, eight players command armies of fantasy creatures in a world where there is only one goal; to control a majority of the nine victorypoint locations. The game is played through a standard web browser.

A game of FC could take a few weeks to complete. Fortunately you don't have to spend hours every day to play the game succesfully. Actually you could probably do your moves in a few minutes every day if you want to. It is recommended that you give the game at least this minimal amount of time each day, otherwise your enemies could do serious damage to your realm without you noticing it.

Action Points

FC is basically a real-time game, meaning that everything you do in the game happens immediately when you gice the orders to your characters. You don't have to wait for hours or even minutes to see the results of a battle, for example. Your characters are limited by something called actionpoints (AP). Whenever a character does something, it has to "pay" with some if it's actionpoints. If it doesn't have enough AP:s left it can't preform the action at the moment. AP:s are regained at a specific pace, usually 1 AP per hour (for each character). Each character can only store a certain maximum number of actionpints. The instants when every character in the game recieves a new actionpoint are called ticks. The word tick is also used to refer to a particular interval of time in the game, for example "tick 7" could mean the seventh hour since the start of the game. If a character is wounded it will also heal some of it wounds (1 or 2 health points, HP) at the start of every tick. Apart from the new AP and HP, nothing special happens at the start of a new tick.

Game interface

To play the game, the game administrator must first create a new game and add you as one of the players. You enter FC by loggin in and selecting the particular game you wish to enter. (It is possible to participate in several games of FC simultanously.) You are then taken to a general information page where you can do a number of things: See how the other players are doing, select a character to center the map on, go directly to your starting location, look at a low detail map of the entire FC world, or study recent battle reports.

The map page is the most important page in the game. Click here for a sample map page (You can interact with the sample but it won't react as a real map page would. Also, the sample is not from the most recent version of the game.)

This is where you do almost everything in a game of FC. At the top is a line with some general game information, followed by a line that briefly shows results of an attempted action, if any. Below that is the map itself. Only part of it is shown (5 x 5 squares). The map represents the FC world, and can be thought of as a rectangular board with square locations. Each location has coordinates ( x , y ) where ( 1 , 1 ) is in the upper left corner of the map. There are seven types of terrain: plains, woods, mountains, swamp, desert, tundra and water. The entire map is 21 x 21 squares.

You can left-click anywhere on the map to center it on that location. A location on the map could contain a small icon to the left that represents the player who owns it. There might also be characters visible on the map. The icon to the right of any visible characters shows who owns the army in this location. Note that this could be different from the owner of the location itself. If you move your pointer over the map, you'll get some additional information. If a location has many characters in it, you might have to click on it (center on it) to see them all to the right of the map. By moving your pointer over the army owner's icon on the map, you'll also see information about the size of the army. Sometimes you will see a small tower on the map, representing a defensive structure to assist the character's in that location.

Your characters can see into adjacent locations and everything there will be visible. Characters who stand in a tower will also see into diagonally adjacent locations. You will also get a warning in the list of events, whenever an army owned by another players has entered such a visible location. All other locations are unknown to you, meaning that you can't see what is there. The terrain and owner of the land is always visible, and you can always see where the victory points are.

Below the map is a summary of the land you currently own. To the right of the map you find more information about the about the location the map is centered on. At the top are details about the location, such as terrain, coordinates, owner and tower status. Below that is a list of all the characters (if any) in this location. If they belong to you, you will also see their current/maximum AP and HP. Here you can click on the creature icon (image) to reveal more detais about it in a separate window. (If you click on a character on the map, you will center the map on it instead.)

Your characters can be given orders, and this is the place to do it. There are two types of orders, "group orders" and "individual orders". The only group orders are simple movement orders, although the movement may result in a battle. Select the characters you wish to move by clicking the selectboxes in the left-most column, and then click one of the direction-buttons below the character table. The characters will attempt to move, the page will reload, and you will get a brief message showing if the were successful or what went wrong. If the location they tried to enter is occupied by enemy forces, your characters will attack them while moving. (Remember to check this before clicking the direction button. There will be no warning before the battle.) Your characters will only enter their destination if all the defending characters are killed. Moving/attacking costs actionpoints and the characters will fail to move if one or more of them currently have too few AP:s. Battles and AP costs are explained in detail later in the rules.

Individual actions are performed by selecting one in the drop down list to the right of one of your characters, and then confirming your choice by clicking the ok button beside it. The page will reload and you'll get a short result line at the top of the page. There are several possible individual actions:

- recruit someting. The character might be able to recruit a new character at this location. This usually costs quite many actionpoints and you must own enough land to support the new character. You can only recruit in a location that you own. The other requirements are explained later in the rules. A newly recruited character starts in perfect health but with just a few or even negative amount of AP. The amount of AP:s it starts with is equal to the recruiting character's current AP:s (after the recruitment) , minus 6. But it can never start with more than 6 AP:s. If it starts with a very low or negative amount, it must stand still until it has enough AP:s to do something.

- claim land. If you don't own the location, your character can claim it. This costs 10 AP. It's impossible to claim water locations.

- build tower. Some characters can build, and the only sensible thing to build it this violent world is a defensive structure. One "tower point" costs 10 AP:s to build, and when a location has 5 or more tower points the defending characters will get a defense bonus, as explained in the battle section of these rules. A tower will usually get damaged during a battle, so it could be wise to build it's strength to above 5 if you want it to stand through several battles.

- disband. You can always disband a character. This costs no AP:s and could be useful if you want to use it's terrain upkeep for something else.

There can never be more than 6 characters in a location (the stacking limit). An action will fail if it would break this rule.

Sometimes when you try to do something with your characters, you'll recieve a warning that something happened nearby recently. When this happens, inspect the map page and issue the orders again (or other orders if the situation has changed). This mechanism is there to detect situations where another player did something nearby after your last page was created. The same warning could appear if you reload a FC map page. You should avoid reloading the same FC page again. Click on the map to generate a new page instead.

Below the location information and the list of character's present, is a list of recent reported events. Events that are reported are: battles , when an army owned by another player enters a visible location, and whan another player claims one of your locations. There is also a link here to take you to a longer list including older events.

Characters/Creatures

Each character in the game is of a specific species, refered to as a creature in this section of the rules. Two characters that are the same type of creature are identical, except that they could have different current AP/HP, owners and be in different locations. Below is an example of a creature, as shown when it's icon is clicked on.


vampire
attack skill: 5
defense skill: 4
attackdice: 8
rangedice: 0
maximum hitpoints: 12
move cost: 5
move mode: flying
maximum actionpoints: 30
alignment: evil

special abilities:
native in woods
native in swamp
steal life

land required:
1 woods
1 mountains
1 swamp

can recruit:
vampire in woods for 18 AP:s
devil in swamp for 18 AP:s
wizard in woods for 18 AP:s

can be recruited by:
genie in swamp for 18 AP:s
troll in woods for 18 AP:s
vampire in woods for 18 AP:s


Also take a look at the creature table.

Some of the above will be explained now, the rest you will find in the battle section of these rules.

- move cost. This is the amount of AP it costs this creature to move one step on the map. This cost will usually be modified by a terrain modifier. Entering a forest location costs 2 AP extra for example.

- move mode. There are three modes: "walking", "walking or swimming" and "flying". Only creatures that can swim or fly can enter water locations. Flying creatures never get the terrain modifier to the AP cost when moving. Flying creatures also get some advantages in battle.

- special abilities. Most of these affect how this creature behaves in battle, so they are listed at the end of these rules.

- land required. Each character requires one or more locations of specific terrains. You must have the specified number of locations available when recruiting one of these creatures. The requirements of all of your characters will sum up and be deducted from your total count of each terrain type to give the available amount. So even if you own 10 woods, much fewer could be available if you have several characters requiring woods for upkeep. You could even have a negative number of available terrain if you've lost control of locations recently (or at the start of the game before you've claimed enough locations). There's no immediate penalty for this, but you will have trouble recruiting creatures that require that terrain. There is also one additional requirement when recruiting: You may never recruit so that your total available (called "net available" on the map page) terrain, counting all terrain types, drops below 0, or if it is negative already.

- can recruit. All creatures can recruit one or more other creatures in locations of a specific terrain. The AP cost varies, but is usually quite large. Note that not all creatures can recruit more of their own kind. Also, most creatures can't recruit creatures less powerful than themselves, they only search for creatures of equal or more power. A few creatures can recruit both the weakest and the most powerful other creatures.

- can be recruited by. Here you see which creatures can recruit this one and where.

In the creature information window, you can also click on another creature's icon to see details about it.

Battle

If you move one or more characters into a location where another player has characters, a battle will occur. Because of the stacking limit, there can never be more than 6 characters on each side in a battle.

Click here for a sample battle report. Such a report should appear immediately when you attack, in a separate window. You can also study battles involving your characters later, by clicking on their link on the map page.

A battle is divided into initiatives. First, a defending character (selected randomly) takes it's initiative, then one of the attackers, then another of the defenders, and so on until every character has taken it's initiative. A character only gets one initiative per battle, so if one side has more characters than the other, that side could get several initiatives in a row at the end of the battle.

During it's initiative, the acting character will strike at an enemy character (the opponent), selected randomly. If the acting character has 1 or more rangedice, the strike will be a rangestrike and the opponent can't strike back, at least not during this initiative. If the acting character is not a rangestriker, it will do a regular strike using it's attackdice and the opponent may strike back at the acting character immediately. This retaliating strike will always use the attackdice (never rangedice). It is almost simultanous with the acting character's strike, so even if the opponent is killed, it will get it's strike.

A strike is resolved simply by rolling the number of attackdice (or rangedice) the character has. Each of the dice will result in a miss or a hit. To decide which dice are hits, the result is compared with the attacker's attack skill and the target's defense skill, according to the following statement : (roll result) + (modifiers) >= 4 + (defense skill) - (attack skill).  If this is true, it's a hit. For example, if the attack skill equals the target's defense skill, and there are no modifiers, all "4:s" or better are hits. Regardless of the calculation above, a "6" is always a hit and a "1" is always a miss.

There are several modifiers to the strike rolls in a battle. The following are the most important ones, and they are all to the striker's disadvantage, although they appear in different places in the battle report:

Skill loss modifiers:


- Each time a character strikes (even when "retaliating"), it will get tired and lose skill, resulting in a -1 modifier on every subsequent strike, affecting all dice. This mechanism is the main reason why it's good to fight with many character's against few. 

- If there are both evil and good characters on the same side in a battle, they will all (even neutral ones) get a -1 modifier because of poor morale.

Defense bonus modifiers:


- When a character on the attacking side that is not native in the terrain in which the battle is being fought strikes at a native defending character, there will be a -1 modifier.

- When a non-flying character strikes a regular strike (not rangestrike) at a flying character, there will be a -1 modifier.

- If the defenders have the advantage of a tower in their location, all strikes from the attacking side will be modified by -1.

Other modifiers could come from special abilites. All modifiers are cumulative, but even after all modifiers have been applied, each "6" is always a hit and each "1" is always a miss.

The number of dice that "hit" the target will result in loss of health points (HP). Hits are shown as white dice in the battle report, misses are shown as red dice. A character dies when it has 0 or less HP left. If the dead character has not taken it's initiative, it's too late. The initiatives are not simultanous. If all characters on one side are killed, the battle will end. If the defenders were killed the surviving attackers will move into the location. Otherwise, surviving attackers will return to the location they came from, but will still lose AP as if they had moved. If they have enough AP left after the battle, they could attack immediately once again if the player wishes. This would be an entirely new battle, although probably some characters will start the battle wounded.

During a battle, a tower in the battle location could get damaged. For each ititiative taken by the attacking side, the tower will lose one tower point. If it drops below 5, the tower will still help the defenders for the remainder of that battle. After that, it will have to be repaired/rebuilt to give it's defense bonus again. Note that if an attacking character is killed before it takes it's initiative, it will not damage the tower.

Special abilities

- native. A character that is native in a specific terrain get no movement modifier when entering locations of that terrain. It could also get a defensive bonus when defending in that terrain (see the battle section above).

- builder. The character can build towers.

- double healing. The character (usually a large one) heals 2 HP every tick instead of 1 HP.

- charge. The character gets 50% (fractions rounded up) extra attackdice during it's own initiative when fighting in terrain where it is native.

- curse. When this character strikes in its own inititive and deals at least 1 point of damage, the target enemy character will get a -1 modifier on all subsequent strikes that battle. Even an immediate retaliation strike will get this negative modifier.

- steal life. When striking and dealing at least 1 HP of damage, this character will heal 1 HP. This will not save a retaliating life stealing character that is just about to die.

- relentless. The character will not get tired when striking. The -1 modifier on subsequent strikes will not apply.

- healer. If the character survives a battle, all surviving characters on the same side will immediately heal 1 HP. Only one healer per side can use this ability after each battle.

- holy strike. When striking at an evil character, this character gets a +1 modifier.

- superior rangestrike. The character ignores defensive bonuses (but not skill penalties) when rangestriking.

- leadership. Characters fighting alongside with this one will have improved morale. Poor morale becomes "normal" morale instead, so that the usual -1 modifier for poor morale is removed. If the characters would otherwise have normal morale, they will have high morale instead. Characters with high morale will not get tired when striking during their own initiative. The usual -1 modifier on subsequent strikes will only apply after each retaliating strike.

Victory

The first player who owns 5 victory point locations will win the game instantly. The final score for each player is equal to the number of victory point locations that player owns when the game ends, plus 1. The winner recieves one more additional point. (A total of 7 points for the winner. The other players recieve between 1 and 5 points. Even eliminated players recieve 1 point.)


Copyright © 2003 Fredrik Sievert. All rights reserved.

This game's rules, program code and everything else on the strategychallenge.com website is the intellectual property of Fredrik Sievert.